How to Test a 2 Wire Cam Sensor with a Multimeter

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Are you looking to learn how to test a two-wire cam sensor with a multimeter? If so, you are in luck, as in this article, and you will be taken through the steps you need to follow during these tests. A wire two cam sensor plays an essential role in allowing the engine, which usually has valves to that open and close to let exhaust out from every fuel cylinder.

However, how well the camshaft rotates is the main determinant of whether the valves will close and open. Typically, the incorporated in the cam is a sensor that signals your engine’s computer on what time to start fuelling from its injector, thereby enabling it to take place the same period your cam opens your intake valves. Therefore, it is very crucial that your cam timing performs perfectly.

Moreover, you should also take not that cam sensors come in numerous names including CMP sensor, pickup coil, variable reluctor, CKP sensor, magnetic pulse generator as well as hall sensor. In most cases, when the cam sensor is faulty, your vehicle will probably not start. However, there still are several other reasons, such as poor ignition oil, damaged spark plug, a tone spark plug cable, and a damaged fuel pump.

Cam Sensor Issues

A cam sensor can generate a variety of problems depending on your vehicle’s model, as well as the kind of failure it has developed. These problems include:

  • Failure of fuel injector pulse
  • Your car fails to start completely
  • Unstable acceleration
  • Locking of transmission in single gear forcing you to restart it over and over again
  • Your engine losing its power and surging

Car models usually differ and use diverse types of cam sensor; this can sometimes make examining of cam sensor quite tricky. If any of the problems mentioned above occur, high chances are your vehicle will, without a doubt, not start. Therefore, you will need to run a test the two-wire cam sensor using your multimeter to be in a position to diagnose where the problem is precisely on your ignition system.

Whereas cam sensors have a variety of names, they are usually divided into two sets, that is the 3 and 2 wire type. Thus, in this case, it is better that you look at the two-wire type to determine its problem through the use of a multimeter. The three and two-wire cam sensor names refer to the number of wires in the connectors.

How to test your sensor with a multimeter

Using a multimeter is usually not difficult when you have necessary skills and knowledge on how to handle electrical devices and tools too. In case you find it difficult, you can always refer to your manual to get the much-needed guidance. 

Troubleshoot the problem

After identifying your cam sensor to have a problem through the use of a code reader, you should go ahead and run some tests on it. However, you might sometimes experience some difficulty locating the cam position sensor to be able to diagnose it by testing it. This is usually because you might be dealing with a component system failure that needs to be addressed, such as connector as well as wires.

Do a simple examination on your cam sensor using a digital multimeter.

You first need to examine the status of your wires as well as the electrical connectors. To do this, you should unplug your connectors to inspect whether there is any contamination or rust that might probably be hindering perfect electrical contact. Furthermore, check whether you have wires are either broken, loose, damaged, or have a short. You should also make sure the sensor wires are not attached to the spark plug wires, as this could result from interfering with the signals generated by the cam sensors.

Consequently, make use of the digital multimeter to test for a direct current voltage (DC) or an alternate current voltage (AC) depending on the model of your cam sensor. With a multimeter, you will be in a position to obtain accurate electrical reading values for the sensor you are testing. However, you can find out these details in your car through manual repair.

It would be best if you also positioned the probe your wires over the electrical connector of your sensor. If you are having any difficulty doing this, try and unplug the sensor connector and then put a piece of copper wire to every terminal of your connector. After you have done this, go ahead and place your connector back to enable your two strands to be in your connector frame, with this vital in preventing the corrosion of the wires.

Turn your multimeter on and set it on AC volts, this should only be the case if you have a magnetic sensor as well as a 2- wire sensor. Have someone who is helping to turn the ignition key to start your vehicle’s engine and examine if energy is flowing through your circuit. Hold one particular probe to the ground and other wires to each of your cam sensor wires. In case all wires have absolutely no current, then you can conclude that your cam sensor is defective and needs to be replaced.

Turn your engine on

Afterward, try starting your vehicle’s engine with help from a friend as you hold the multimeter probes to one of your cam sensors wire and the other probes to other wires as well. Then examine the reading value displayed on the screen of your multimeter and make a comparison on your reading to your entire manual recordings. If you notice an unstable signal that is between 0.3 and1volt or there is no reading at all, you thus can know for sure that your sensor is damaged.

Nevertheless, if you do not find anything wrong with either your cam sensor or circuit, then there is a great possibility that your car might be having an internal failure. Make a point of checking on some internal components on what might be the problem; this is through consulting experts. 


Having read through this article, you now have an idea on how to test 2 wire cam sensors with your multimeter. Therefore, whenever you suspect there is an issue preventing it from working correctly, get your multimeter, and you will be able to know the underlying problem.

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